Welcome to IdeaJones.com

Articles, radio stories, ads, columns, corporate communications, novels or scripts – we’re never short of ideas. You can see some of our designs in our Redbubble shop.

 

Joey Jones is the published author and editor of many newspaper and magazine articles, radio stories, advertisements and commentaries, and has ghostwritten everything from speeches to love letters. She is a past Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting semifinalist and Fade In: Screenwriting Awards quarterfinalist. She also gathers sound and conducts interviews as a freelance field producer in the Sacramento area, and her on-air performance as “The Dying Fish” can be heard in the Water Education commercial series.

Mark Jones makes a living producing radio shows (like Connections on Capital Public Radio’s Music Station). As Martin Jenkins, he’s heard weekday evenings on CapRadio’s four news stations, and Sunday mornings on 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto. Mark has also sung, acted and directed local theater and TV.

 

We’re about the story. Whether it’s the facts and figures of nonfiction, or the deeper truth of fiction, we want to find just the right words, sounds, and/or images to get it across.

We’re also about the process. “Do the work right, and on time.” Life’s too short to make things harder than they have to be.

 

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Gingeroo Jones and Rescue Drama

It’s been, as the Grateful Dead famously said, “a long, strange trip,” but in the end, a judge declared Ginger (aka Gingeroo The Wonder Pup) a permanent part of our pack.

During the last few months, we’ve been tested, friendships have been tested (and passed with flying colors), and little Gingeroo has grown (she’s now more than doubled from her original 10 pounds).

People have asked if we have lost faith in pet rescues as a result of our experience. The short answer is… no. The long answer is a long one indeed, so I’ll give the medium-length one: There are many responsible rescue organizations trying to do their best for both animals and the people who want to adopt them. They work long hours, usually as volunteers, endure heartbreak, all to save lives. We’ve gotten to know some of these people and they truly care.

Yes, sometimes they ask a lot of very personal questions, because they’ve seen dogs, cats, horses, etc. come back. They see up close what can happen when the pet and the adopter aren’t good fits. Yes, sometimes they take too long to get back to you. Yes, there are some who shouldn’t be involved in rescue at all… we’ve met those, too.

But generally, most of the people in rescue we’ve gotten to know are responsible, reasonable people trying to do something very difficult for the best reasons.

I can’t even regret our experience with not one, but two, irresponsible rescues. In the end, we got Gingeroo. It’s been expensive, frustrating, scary, stressful, exhausting… pull out your thesaurus and find a word for “awful” and you’re on the right track. But now she’s ours, our affectionate little spitfire.

So if you work with a rescue, or you’ve dealt with one… how do you recognize a reputable rescue group? What should someone be looking for? I’m hoping to spare someone else the experience we had. Thanks for your input!

#TeamGinger #Gingeroo #AdoptDontShop #rescue

Gingeroo isn’t sure if she’s a fairy or an angel, but she knows she can fly!

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A Dog’s Guide To Humans: Piddle & Doody

A word about wiz.

You might want to go relieve yourself before you start reading this dispatch.

Of all the things I’ve observed about humans, the most perplexing is their attitude toward their own bodies and natural processes. Honest to Dog, it’s confounding. I’ll see if I can make even minimal sense of it, but some of this you will just have to accept on faith. I swear on my favorite squeaky toy, what I’m about to tell you is true.

  • They are embarrassed by the fact that they poop.

I’m not talking about someone seeing them poop. When someone watches you go, it’s awkward and weird, no doubt about it. I’m talking about simply acknowledging that you do poop, or pee, at some point in your day.

I think it’s some sort of sacred ritual for them. They even have special rooms in which to relieve themselves. They also wash themselves in that same room, which is odd unless you consider it as part of a ritual. You have the shameful elimination, then the ritual cleansing. This might explain why it’s considered such a private event.

Outside of the Altar of Elimination, though, they try hard to pretend they don’t have to go. Some humans use special code words for elimination. Piddle, which sounds like an endearment for a puppy, is actually a code word for peeing. There are many others. One is “tinkle.” I met a dog named Tinkerbelle and she said her name was very confusing as nobody ever rang a bell when she tinkled. I theorized that maybe they were saying it sounded like a bell when she tinkled. Human hearing is quite limited, after all. This seemed to satisfy her and make her far more happy with the situation.

There are also many words for defecation, including “doody.” My humans like to watch historic recordings of the stories that appear on the glowing boxes. One featured a man in a cowboy suit who talked to a wooden toy he called “Howdy Doody.” I do not believe he would have greeted even a toy by saying, “Hello, Turd,” but “Howdy, Doody” seemed to be not only acceptable but much admired, to judge by the humans slapping their front paws together (known as “applause,” the equivalent of a happy tail wag).

They have a great many words for peeing and for pooping, from those supposed to be rebellious (“shit”) to those meant to be euphemisms (“do your business,” for example. This one confused me quite a bit at first as it seems an odd business to be in).  A species only exhibits this behavior in regards to things seen as taboo.

  • Some of them are driven insane by elimination.

Not their own, I hasten to add. They might be uncomfortable with their own elimination, but they are downright neurotic about ours. My own humans will not let me eliminate in their Altar of Elimination, although they do allow human visitors to do so, so I must go in the back yard. Strange as this is, it is nothing to the behavior of some humans.

I have been told of dogs who are swatted with objects when they eliminate inside the dwelling. It has even entered their language. To be “hit with a rolled-up newspaper” is a general term for being corrected. It is uncertain what the thinking is, but I’m inclined to accept the explanation given to me by Runs With Nose Lifted (aka “Wowzer”), a Great Dane I met. He theorizes that as uncomfortable as humans are with elimination in general, some are driven mad in the presence of it. Wowzer said he solved the problem by going behind the sofa to eliminate.

Another dog, Steps High And Walks Fast (aka “Charlie”), said she tried designating her own altar — the tiny room in which the humans store their clothing — but this proved displeasing to her human companions, so as of that morning, she had started going under their bed, which seems reasonable.

There is more to write on this subject, but I am still compiling my notes, and will send another dispatch as soon as I can.

 

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A Dog’s Guide To Humans: Sleep

Humans are always tired.

As with so many things, humans have a strange relationship with their own bodies (just wait until I get to humans and elimination. Oh my dog, that’s a whole subject in itself).  They are so uncomfortable in their own skins that they do things to themselves that can only be described as straight-up freaky. One of the things they really can’t figure out is sleeping.

How, when, where or with whom, humans can screw all of that up beyond any dog’s ability to understand, but I’ll do my best to explain it.

  • Humans don’t understand sleep.

I mean, quite literally, they don’t grasp the concept. Not really. They seem to do all right as puppies, but once they can walk unassisted, they start experimenting with it.  Their puppies, called “babies,” are the most sensible stage of their development. They eat when they’re hungry (well, they demand food), poop when they need to, and sleep when they’re tired, unless someone or something prevents them. Yes, you read that right — adults try to manipulate their puppies so they sleep not when they’re tired, but when it is most convenient for other adults. This isn’t surprising when you realize that this is what the adults do to themselves and to each other.

They have a schedule that is baffling. They wake up, usually after not getting enough sleep, so they’re cranky and clumsy. By ingesting the runoff of water in which various plants have been dredged, they open their eyes, at least somewhat, and begin to communicate. Prior to drinking the runoff, they communicate mostly in grunts and gestures. After, they communicate in sharp, harried barks and run around grabbing things and  putting them into other things, usually some sort of bag or box, and complaining that they are now late.

Laugh if you will — this is how they start most of their days.

They spend their days in a variety of behaviors, most of which seem to have little practical value, but do keep them occupied and, for the most part, out of trouble. During the afternoon, when their energy dips, they do not rest. Instead, they ingest more runoff so they can keep doing whatever it is they’re doing.

Then they come home and do more things, not very effectively, because they’re tired. When they get tired enough, they slump on the supplementary dog bed (aka “sofa”) and stare at boxes with emit light and sound, which helps keep them awake. Sometimes these are thin, small boxes they can hold in their hands. Other times they are very large boxes.

Eventually, long after they should be asleep, they will topple over and sleep in front of the glowing boxes, still resisting the urge to go to their comfortable beds to sleep. Eventually, many of them do rouse somewhat and stagger to their beds, but some stay in front of the glowing boxes so they can wake in the morning and complain about the parts of their bodies that hurt.

  • Humans don’t trust sleep.

You might have read that more than once only to discover that it still makes no sense.  This is because it makes no sense.

Humans dislike sleep. They brag about how little they get. They pretend they don’t need it. They talk about “snatching” or “grabbing” it. Where any sensible dog will tell you that if you’re tired it’s time to sleep, humans avoid it as long as they can.

Instead of viewing sleep as a necessary part of the healing process, humans treat it like an enemy who must be conquered. Even as they are staggering, bleary-eyed and foggy-brained, they tell anyone who will listen that they “don’t need that much sleep.” It causes them untold health risks from accidents to heart attacks, but they take pride in their unwillingness to lie down and close their eyes as if simply being able to keep their eyes open long after their brains have stopped working were some sort of accomplishment.

It is worth considering what marvels they could accomplish if only they weren’t so tired all of the time. And cranky. I’ve heard the phrase so often that the one word doesn’t sound right without the others. Tired and cranky.

I doubt we’ll ever know what humanity could be if it only it got the occasional nap.

I will write my next dispatch as soon as I can. Meanwhile, it’s time to go to bed. ~ Gingeroo

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A Dog’s Guide To Working With Humans

Humans are both fascinating and confusing.

If you want to work with humans, there are a few important things you need to know.  I’ve been working with these humans for a couple of months now, and I can already tell that working with humans isn’t as easy as working with dogs:

  • Humans talk about cooperating a lot more than they cooperate.  Sometimes this is because they really don’t want to cooperate.  I overheard someone saying “This shit has too many captains.”  He pronounced it “ship,” but I’m not going to make fun of him for a speech impediment.

As you know, among dogs, we all sort out who does what and do what we do best.  I have the best sense of smell in our pack, but Reo is better at spotting squirrels in trees. I’m little and fast, but Moby is big and strong. Humans can use can openers. We all have our role to play.

Humans have an “all or nothing” approach to control. They don’t want to give up any, or they pretend they gave up all of it.  And nobody listens to anybody just because she’s good at that particular thing. They think listening to someone who knows what she’s talking about means giving her some sort of power over them… How do humans get anything done? They overcomplicate things so much.

  • Humans have the awareness of rocks.  Okay, their senses are, to be kind about it, very limited.  They stare, baffled, at the tree you’re barking at, because they can’t hear or see the squirrel right over their heads. They step in things because they can’t smell them.

This lack of awareness of who or what is around them causes them endless problems. When a pack works together, we pay attention to where the other members of the pack are and what they’re doing. If Moby flushes a rat, Reo and I need to be able to help him catch it. If we don’t pay attention to each other, the rat gets away. Which means we’ll probably have to chase that same rat another day — plus a bunch of baby rats.  If I flush a rat, I need Reo and Moby to help me, because I’m a baby and the rat is probably almost as big as I am. If they aren’t aware of me, the rat gets away, or I’m rat chow.

Humans engage in things far more complicated than chasing rats, but usually they don’t seem to be aware of the other people involved. If Reo chases a rat and it runs my way, I have to chase it toward Moby so he can take care of it. Moby needs me to do my part, so he can do his. But humans take on projects where each person  has to chase his rat, so to speak, on time, so the next person can chase her rat.  But they ignore all of the other people waiting for them and do whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like it, so the next person waiting for the rat to come his way misses it, or gives up and goes home.

No wonder there are so many rats in the world.

The humans are interesting animals with many bizarre habits, and the ones I have adopted are very nice, even if they are, as all humans seem to be, somewhat limited.  My studies continue, and I will send more dispatches as I can.

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Creating While Distracted

Gingeroo and Moby, a puppy & her (adopted) dad.

We have a new family member, Gingeroo, who joined us almost two months ago. She’s an adorable little girl and before anyone asks, she is 100% Pure Yorgess… “your guess is as good as ours!”  She’s a mixed breed, some sort of hound/terrier mix. We’re thinking she’s part Basenji, as Abby was (always miss you, Princess Hound!).  Gingeroo does a lot of things Abby did, from trying to climb on everything (including people –we’re working on it) to holding things with her paws like a raccoon. She even has the Basenji speaking voice, which sounds, so Mark’s mom used to say, like something from The Exorcist (think someone talking in a very raspy, growly voice).

Moby loves his little baby (she’s almost five months old now). He lets her take tennis balls, roll in the grass with him, even cuddle up to his tummy.  And when she gets out of control, he gently but firmly corrects her. She’s a spitfire, lots of energy and focus, but once she settles down, very sweet and cuddly.

We’re trying to work with a puppy in the house, and for other reasons, it’s been pretty stressful here.  There are a few things we’ve figured out:

* When it’s not normal times, don’t try to pretend it is. Acknowledge whatever challenges there are and plan accordingly. You don’t have to let things stop you — but if there’s a hill in your path, it doesn’t help to pretend there isn’t. Make plans to climb the hill.

* If a situation isn’t likely to resolve itself quickly, adjust your expectations. A friend said, “If it’s a marathon, not a sprint, train for a marathon.” She went on to say that you have to get your rest, drink plenty of water, exercise, eat a healthy diet, all that stuff, just as if you were going to run an actual marathon. This may be the smartest advice we’ve gotten in years.

* “If the straight path is blocked, get creative about going where you need to go. Other paths may still get you there.” Great advice from another friend. Right now, my schedule revolves around little Gingeroo, who is learning to go outside to potty, but has to go outside about every other hour. Plus, I don’t want her to think if she goes, that’s it, back in the house, fun’s over, so after she goes, we play for a while. This is seriously cutting into my productivity, but will pay off in the future. So I take her out to play, bring her in, get her settled with a toy, and get some work done until we do it all again in 90 minutes. Which means that if I’m not as productive as I’d like, at least I’m productive, so I don’t lose patience with her, and she’s getting really good about housetraining, since it’s a positive experience.

We’ve had other times when life was challenging, sometimes very challenging, and it was frustrating, on top of what was going on, not to be getting anywhere creatively. Fortunately, now we know how to navigate the rough patches in the road until they smooth out, which brings me to the other best advice I ever got:

“The universe doesn’t recognize stasis. Things can grow or decay quickly or slowly, but they can’t stay the same.” This was our doctor and once we really understood it, we realized it meant that change is part of the system. Enjoy the good and survive the bad knowing it won’t last forever.

“Better is always coming. The trick is to hang on until it gets there.”  Mom, who lived through The Great Depression, told me that.

Hope your good stretches are longer than your bad.

Gingeroo and Moby enjoy the summer.

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